Patriotism

Americans are not uniquely patriotic, but many of us express the patriotism common to citizens of empires throughout history. This patriotism equates happiness with military and economic might. This patriotism unironically claims that ours is the best country, not just in the modern world, but in the history of the world. This patriotism is about…

We can heal…if we reach for one another.

Our American society has developed a commitment to the primacy of the individual human actor. We valorize the man who -- we imagine -- goes it alone, setting out on his own to make his fortune, whether on the Western prairie or in the urban marketplace. Our national mythology celebrates the Founding Father, the cowboy,…

The real learning loss

This essay was also published in the Oak Park newspaper Wednesday Journal.  Every year, parents, educators, and community members worry about “summer learning loss”. During the pandemic, these worries have taken on new dimensions: what can we do about all the knowledge and skills that students have supposedly lost over the past year and a…

Unmaking this world

This piece was also published in the Oak Park newspaper Wednesday Journal.  This world will be unmade. Will it be by the creep of increasing vapors altering the chemistry of our atmosphere and oceans? By the waters and winds of a weather cataclysm? By the scorching inferno of an unstoppable fire? By the armed conflict…

The work of antiracism is the work of relationship.

Recently, news outlets have been covering two letters decrying antiracism work at two elite, private schools in New York City. In the first letter, Andrew Gutman, a white businessman, describes pulling his daughter out of Brearley School, citing the school’s “obsession with race”, and sending his letter to hundreds of families whose children are enrolled…

Choosing abolition

This was also published in the Oak Park newspaper Wednesday Journal. This week, Derek Chauvin was found guilty for the murder of George Floyd. As many have argued, this is not justice, just a small measure of accountability. True justice means changing the system so that these murders stop happening. So that people like George…

Vaccinated

Inside my body, I now have molecules that will teach my immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus. As I sit here waiting in the pharmacy, my body is gaining the knowledge of how to dismantle the threat that has held us hostage for the past year. And my ability to access the vaccine that…

Finding the will

On December 23, 2020, police killed Angelo Quinto by kneeling on his back after responding to a mental health support call at his mother’s home. On June 2, 2020, police shot and killed unarmed Sean Monterrosa as he knelt in front of a squad car. On May 25, 2020, police killed George Floyd by kneeling…

Rights and wrongs

The one-year anniversary of Ahmaud Arbery’s death. The release of an official report confirming that police had no reason to stop, frisk, or choke Elijah McClain. The lack of charges for police officers who killed Daniel Prude. The shooting deaths of two Fort Wayne teenagers in a hate crime.  All of these events are happening…

Pause, feel, reflect, inquire

This piece was also published in the Oak Park newspaper Wednesday Journal.  If we value humanity, we white people must co-create and work in spaces that aspire towards antiracism. If we work in these spaces, our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors of color will, at some point, call us racist or white supremacist, will say…